Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wolf pack dies

The alpha male of a wolf pack that had been killing cattle on the White Mountain Apache Reservation in Arizona has been shot and eight other wolves in the pack that were captured have died, including six pups killed by a surrogate parent wolf, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The alpha male of the 12-member Hon Dah pack was shot and killed Wednesday after efforts to capture it were unsuccessful. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials had ordered the capture or removal of the pack, at the request of the tribe.

Although the adult male had been used successfully as a surrogate before, he apparently killed to protect his own pups, officials said.

The alpha female died after capture Sunday.

“The loss of these wolves is a blow to the Mexican wolf recovery program and everyone who is working to recover wolves in the Southwest,” said Benjamin Tuggle, acting regional director for the agency’s Southwest region.

According to Fish and Wildlife estimates, there are 32 to 46 Mexican gray wolves in the wild, not including newborn pups, in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico.

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